You’ve probably already been to Vienna, but has anyone ever explained you the history of this amazing city? Every corner has its own story to tell and every building is a great part of Viennese and Austrian history. Once you know all those facts you appreciate those sights even more. That’s why we are willing to help you explore the heart of the old town of Vienna.
Download our Cultural Places App and find an audio guided tour through old Vienna, add it to your planner and use it the next time you visit.
Let’s start exploring the streets of the old town of Vienna.
Hoher Markt is the oldest square in Vienna and during the Middle Ages, it was one of the most important market places in the city. Even though it was once a part of the Roman settlement, there are no ruins to be seen today. But while you’re there, grab your camera and take some photos of the Wedding Fountain and the amazing Ankeruhr – a large gilded clock in Art Nouveau style that shows different figure crossing the bridge each hour and plays music in the background.
© Ben Snooks/ CC BY-SA 2.0
The Judengasse is a street that was once the main street through the Jewish quarter of the Middle Ages. While you’re strolling through it, check out the Irene Harand Hof – named after the famous author and founder of the World League against Racial Hatred and Human Suffering.
© Johanna Bergmayr
The Judengasse will get you to the Ruprechtplatz where you will find the St. Rupert’s Church – old Romanesque church that is known to be the oldest church in the city (but there are some doubts about that). It’s a real hidden gem and looks totally different from any other building in Vienna.
Go back a little bit and take a turn to the Seitenstettengasse, that’s the street where you’ll find the only synagogue that survived WWII. It is hidden behind the façade of another building because it was once forbidden for any religious object that isn’t Roman Catholic church to be built with facades fronting directly on to public streets – and that is what actually saved it from being devastated.
© Politikaner / CC BY-SA 3.0
Fleischmarkt – Meat market is a part of the oldest Viennese quarters, the Greek quarter. This street was first mentioned in the 13th century and is known to be the oldest street in Vienna. That’s where you’ll see the Julius Meinl House – an Art Deco building that was the first spice shop of Julius Meinl I. Also, this is the street where you’ll find the oldest restaurant in Vienna, Griechenbeisl that was visited by many famous people, such as Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert and Strauss. Right next to this restaurant there is a beautiful building of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.
© Viennpixelart / CC BY-SA 4.0
© Thomas Ledl / CC BY-SA 3.0
Schönlaterngasse – “beautiful lantern alley” is named by the beautiful lantern on one of the houses in this street. It’s the street where you’ll find Heiligenkreuzer Hof (“Holy Cross courtyard”) – the former seat of the oldest university of Vienna. Also, you’ll pass the House of the Basilisk named after the legend of the basilisk – a monster with the head of the cock, body of the toad and long, scaly tail.
© SchiDD / CC BY-SA 4.0
Stephansplatz and Graben
Stephansplatz is the very centre of Vienna and one of our favourite places here. It is named after one of the tallest churches in the world – Stephansdom. It’s also one of the most famous Viennese landmarks and a true symbol of one nation. You have to take a moment and admire this glorious building! And after that, you can continue to Graben Street and find the Black Death Column dedicated to victims of the plague.
© Fotoalfred / CC BY-SA 4.0
That’s where our walk through the heart of the old town of Vienna ends. Now you can continue to stroll down the Graben street and do some shopping or get a cup of coffee in one of the authentic Viennese coffee shops.